School assault focuses policy

| 09/04/2014

(CNS): Education officials have confirmed that a teacher at John Gray High School was assaulted last month in a classroom by a Year 11 student, who was later arrested and charged. The teen was said to have engaged in disruptive and aggressive behaviour in class, which culminated in him punching the teacher before he was removed by a school security guard. In the wake of the incident ,the chief education officer said behaviour issues were a priority for education services and that it was currently working on refining key expectations around behaviour and discipline in schools to ensure clarity for everyone affected. Shirley Wahler also said that there would be important changes for the start of the next school year.

The teen who hit his teacher is being dealt with by the school in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy and it was immediately referred to the police, demonstrating the seriousness of how the school and education authorities consider the matter.

“We treat any assault within the school as a very serious matter, but in particular threats and assaults to teachers are regarded as matters of the utmost gravity and carry serious consequences,” said Wahler. “This incident has not only been dealt with by the school but has, as is our standard policy with incidents of this nature, been referred to the police as well.”

The CEO said that as well as the overall existing policy on behaviour, each school has its own individual school policy on discipline under the umbrella of the ministry policy. However, she said there was more to come that would require the involvement of all stakeholders.

“We all want—and our community deserves—that we provide safe, welcoming, supportive and inclusive learning environments,” said Wahler. “Significant work is currently well underway by the ministry and Department of Education Services to refine and publish key expectations around behaviour and discipline to ensure clarity at all levels and for all stakeholders. We believe that this will enable us to improve and strengthen the way in which behaviour and discipline issues are managed going forward, building on what currently exists.

“There will be important changes in this area for the start of the next school year. The ministry will be reaching out to all stakeholders to play their part to make this a reality at all schools, for all students,” she added.

The assault on the teacher at John Gray comes following reports last month of exit interviews that showed teachers were leaving as a result of the appalling behaviour of students and that existing teachers are still dealing, on a daily basis, with all of the issues recorded by the departing teachers, including classroom violence.

See national behaviour policy and John Gray’s own school policy below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Terrible that a teacher was assualted. It will be an even sadder day when these types of students decide to bring weapons into the equation. Let us hope it does not get to that but I cannot see it going any other how, unless drastic measures are put into place like yesterday.

    Education Ministry need to get to the root of the issues. These children are obvioulsy coming from homes with poor parenting where they are being abused or having to be parents themselves for younger siblings. Or homes where they are being spolied and allowed to do exactly what they wish whenever and wherever. Amounts to the same…poor parenting. 

    We would be surprised what goes on in the homes of many of these students if you take the time to befriend them and listen, they tell you. They need help to manage the stress they face daily. This would not have been the case  for us as students years back. its a combination of so many issues, it seriously frightening.

    This student needs to get the help and should be pulled from the system and put in an environment to address his needs.  The parents also need intervention too, possibly more than the child. All that being said, he needs to  take responsiblity for his poor choice and must now pay for the consequences of his actions.

    I am certain reports would have been submitted on this student prior to this incident and just like most things…not a thing was done due to poor management.  You also get the do not care or do not wish to rock the boat attitude by colleagues or supervisors of staff  

    It's only after incidents like this that the higher authorities take notice. If this slackness continues…one day  soon we not may, we will all be crying for a huge loss…just like parents and students of many educational institutions in the US.

    CIG wake up and do something now before it becomes a nightmare!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else noticed the absence of any statement from the Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education? Funny how when it's bad news all of a sudden there's this resounding silence.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is odd as I heard the Chief Officer welcome the Minister to their team on a Panel interview on Channel 27. The civil servants know the politicians are only there for 4 years where they seem to be there for ever.

      The politicians get the heat but hs problem has exited for year and the "team" can sit back and let the minister take the heat.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I was in school (graduated from JGHS in 2005) no matter how 'bad the egg', classmates NEVER assaulted the teacher.  Yes, there was some back chat. Yes, we didn't always listen. Yes, we made faces behind their backs. BUT. At the end of the day, we did what we were told. I feel for the teacher here who was assaulted because it is not easy being an educator; and to have someone attack you is devastating. I hope the child in question has been expelled. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Three main components for school success is the ability, responsibility and effectiveness of =


    But if there is a problem or negative outome equation is STUDENTS + PARENTS……..

    How will we ever have success in our schools when we can suggest accountability of only TWO variables? 

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have heard that this is by far not an isolated incident. There have been other teachers assaulted and verbally abused veryoften. and there are the many other incidences of teachers themselves being injured and threatened while trying to deescalate violence between students.  The Education Department much like other government agencies polish their images images so much that we the public don't see and hear all that is going on.

  6. Coconutz says:
  7. Benharper says:

    Since when did Teachers and the Dept of Education stop being responsible for controlling students behaviour?? From the top down the whole bunch has checked out years ago and quite simply no one is doing their job! Time to clean house Ms. Wahler.. hire better qualified teachers and leaders, pay them well so they are rewarded for the difficult job they have in front of them to turn the school system in the Cayman Islands around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Since when did it become acceptable for parents to raise such thugs that think pucnhing and kicking anyone let alone a teacher ….think before you pass the buck idiot


    • Anonymous says:

      Such profound comments! I absolutely agree! Minimum qualification should be at least three months military training and a black belt in karate or some other marital art.

    • Anonymous says:

      Benharper the teachers no longer have any form of corporal punishment and the students know this so if you think a stern look will stop these kids then you are in a dream world.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This happens in schools around the world: the kids get expelled and forever regret their actions, and/or continue into an increasingly maligned life of crime.  I would hope that schools look at this incident and at their own internal discipline policies and resolve to stick to them.  Perhaps the math teacher is not doing that unruly kid in the back row any favours by letting his outbursts continue.  Send him to the principal's office, detention, suspension, expulsion.  It works only if the discipline kicks in reliably and at a stage before crisis.  Kids need to know what behavior is expected of them – have them sign a contract.

    • Anonymous says:


      Why keep a child in class when there should be alternatives for consequences of unacceptable behaviour at the school?

      Why are we spending so much money on all these experts to assist counselors and principals if studnets can't be given the help they need?

      Why can't we hold the few parents responsible for their involvement in violence? Minor infractions of school rules should be easily addressed at school and worked out with the reasonable parents.

      Why aren't teachers made to sign contracts regarding their conduct in the class as well? I refused to sign the contract with my child's elementary school until the class teacher also signed it andit wasn't because I was worried about my child's conduct, it's just nonsense to me to sign a contract agreeing to terms but my child's teacher never had to face any specific consequences regarding their conduct.

      Why do we have headlines of students' assaults but none on alleged 'serious misconduct' of teachers?

      DO you think most schools would use the violence of one (or a few) students and make public statements, allegations,  that encourage negative perception that the students at the school all have dysfunctional parents and because of their race and financial levels their children can't behave or learn?

      For example, when a student attacks others on school compound as recently reported in the USA, would it be fair to say those parents and students were all irresponsible? That was ONE student, teh blame must be placed on that student and his issues, which may include influence from teachers/students and parents but not as a blanket indication that if he reacted that way ALL students will be that way so HIRE more foreign counselors.

      Are the schools also trying to breed criminals by creating disproportionate treatment to stduents' with minor behavioural issues that lead to frustration, victimization and self-filfilling violent behaviour, due to classroom environments with certain teachers?

      Will our MInister of Education reach out to people who actually care and will assist with the identification of issues and solutions, or will we see appointments of friends from the PPM/C4C party/team given the opportunity for public attention (resume building) and no substantial impact.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let sign a contract?  The contract should be signed by the parents who have these unruly children.  They are not taught manners and respect at home, so how can they do any better at school or even on the street.  Disruptive behaviour should not be tolerated in any classroom, not even to mention attacking a teacher.  The only thing wrong with this situation, the student didn't end up in intensive care.

  9. Anonymous says:

    19.59 is completely correct. What a load of codswallop from the CEO, to put it mildly. It's no wonder the behaviour of so many of our students (I'm so sorry, "stakeholders") is dreadful if this meaningless babble is all we can expect from those nicely insulated from the reality of what education is all about i.e. what actually happens in the classroom. What's clearly needed is a system that requires all those qualified to teach in non-teaching positions involved with the running of our schools to be required to spend a term ever so often actually teaching in a school for a change. Yes, that's right, actually experiencing the reality of education (teaching a real class of kids) instead of the comforts of a nice office and those ever so calm and collected endless committee meetings, school visits (where they are treated like royalty) and other such rubbish. But don't hold your breath for this to happen, my friends!

    • Savannah Resident says:

      Great idea.  I hope it will be installed and implemented immediately. 

  10. MEM says:

    Can we allow teachers to start spanking kids in the Primary Schools again? When I was going to Primary School if we did something wrong or broke a rule we were sent to the principal's office for a spanking on our palm with a ruler/belt. Needless to say children respected theirteachers, feared the principal's office and entered High School with this seem respect level! Any parent who has a problem with their childgetting a simple spanking at school for rude behaviour will have to either discipline their child themselves so they won't be rude at school, home school that child or remove them from that school. I GUARANTEE there would be fewer disruptions if children knew they would get a spanking, it is more embarrassing for them than anything else!

    • Anonymous says:

      Nowadays, I think it would me more appropriate to spank the parents who failed to instill any sense of respectful behavior in their children!

    • Anonymous says:

      Fear the princple's office?? You want our children to fear school? You think having our children beaten and scared will fix our problems? I went to Prep in the 80s and I can tell you without a doubt that beatings and fear did NOTHING to help me learn nor did it encourage a love for school – it actually did the opposite. I'm now in my 40s and I can tell you unequivocally that I despise school and all the teachers that were on staff at Prep school in the 80s. Until the parents of these little monsters take full responsibility for their actions NOTHING will change and Cayman will continue its quick demise into yet another West Indian 3rd world $hit hole. This place is doomed.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Nah…I don't want our kids to fear school, I will be just peachy keen satisfied if they are merely awfully, terribly, horrifically, heart-stopping-ly, pee-in-their-pants dreadful of being punished for being disrespectful brats.  Generally, I disliked school too, like you (somewhat) I never really loved it either. But that didn't stop me from making very good grades. Because I even more hated my father's expressions of displeasure when I didn't put in my best effort in school. And I basked in his lavish praise when I did do well. But, heyall yeah, I was scared $hitless of being sent to… "The Office"!  And I was not the only one.

        Did the fear make me me a better student academically? Dunno. But I can garan-damn-tee you one thing: mortal fear of a good sound a$$ whoopin' totally prevented me from even thinking of being disruptive in class or disrespectful to school staff! And it prevented wannabee brats from making it hard on teachers and interrupting the educational process for the rest of the class.  End result: An orderly class, and teachers who could concentrate on teaching rather than spending time and emotional energy trying to molly-coddle and cajole and beg small tyrants into being nice little boys and girls.

        I recall one particular teacher known (and justly feared) for their paddle prowess. That class was always orderly and quiet. Few students were sent to the Principal because the teacher administered swift and sure justice by was of sound application of The Board of Education to the offending student's Seat of Understanding. To compare that class to a class with a "soft" teacher was like comparing a church service to a riot. The teacher's motto, conveyed on the first day of class: "You may not ever like me, but you will respect me."

        From primary school days our students need to be re-introduced to an old Caymanian saying: "If you can't hear, you'll feel!"


        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, but what you are speaking of starts from the home! It doesn't start at school!

      • Anonymous says:

        You need help, mate.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I'd like to see the parents stand up and take at least some responsibility as well as taking the lead in dealing with these behaviours and attitudes at the source.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You only have to look at SOME of the parents to see why this happened, 

  13. Anonymous says:

    How often does this happen? At least we don’t have mass shootings or stabbings in our schools every other week like some so-called first world countries.

    • Anon.....(and on and on) says:

      But if you take the numbers of schools and the national population into account, we can "take heart' that we are "well ahead" of the "so called" first world curve.   Doesn't make me feel particularily proud.  How about you?  Life good under that rock?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, but for how long? Remeber this was unheard of in some first-world countries in the past. 

      • Anonymous says:

        It is only a matter of time, because we are very heavily influenced by America. So, yes unfortunately we can look for shootings and or stabbings in the near future, it sounds drastic but it isn't impossible. Some of these kids have direct access to weapons, alot do not come from a good home they see alot of things that kids should never see. If parents don't start taking pride in parenting the country will reap what the parents sow ad it's going to be n-a-s-t-y.

        Of course the parents that should be reading this commentary won't be.

  14. Lionfish says:

    This is so sad. Unfortunately all discipline has gone through the door . It starts at home, kids today can do anything, no manners and the parents make excuses for all their wrong doings. God help the teacher that tries to discipline them. I remember some years back when the parent went to the middle school and hit the teacher for punishing the child. Even look at how they are allowed to wear their uniforms, shirts out their pants, pants dropping off.  The dress code should be strictly adhered to as that in it self contributes to bad behavior. God help our future generation.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is clearly an issue of bad parenting and the parents need to be held accountable for the actions of their child.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree. At the bare minimum, parents must  pay for any cost involved with such incidences (ie medical cost, time for police involvement etc). This is standard in other countries.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Should have never took the belt and the bible out of the Schools!  

    It should be brought back in Primary School level, because after all that is exactly where it starts at.

    • james Pouchie says:

      Lets be clear abou this, this is not a school problem this is a home problem that has affected the school!. Parents need to take more responsability for their children, too many dead beat Dads in Cayman period.

    • John says:

      Bredren all, why do we continue to turn a blind eye to the inadequacies of our educational system in terms of discipline at the schools.  We all know for many years that  our children at primary level have been the fore runners of the gang systems, not the children themselves but the lack of process that failed to identify and correct behavioral patterns in our children at an early age. We must all also recognize that we retrogressed for many years in not having  firm hands on the educational processes strategies and policies which all normally  lead to a wholesome, disciplined environment geared to producing young men and women. Young men and women who in the first instance are prepared to take on jobs in the various work facilities at entry levels, and provide for further tertiary education.

        We seem to have starts and spurts in the policies and strategies and don't  seem to have a firm hand , neither at the parental level, Education council level, chief Officer level, ministerial level  or at the teachers level which shoud be driven by strict policies processes that are consistently reviewed to ensure that the targets of discipline, education and safety and health levels are  maintained within the schools, not crisis management as we have seen played out on many occasions.  I may be getting ahead of myself with the last comment, for it seems that these ingredients as well  as having more males within the system as teachers are sorely missing. We perhaps need more men who comandeer  respect and are able to not just be  a more dominat presence, (and no disrespect to our conscientious female educators), but as dominant figure heads which may be absent in the lives of a number of children.

       We must understand that these young boys need to be molded not just on sympathy and punishment, but their youth and in many cases unfortunate parental  guidance demands and    needs to be channeled in constructive and firm ways. There must also be given serious and concrete steps taken to not just treat the un disciplined children but also the parent(s) who obviously need to be considered in the mix who too must be one of the major aspects of  rolling back the issues of rebellious and in disciplined children.

      May the Cayman Islands Government, citizens and residents accept the call todo the righ things, create the correct atmosphere , unite and work together for the common good.

    • Anonymous says:

      No need to splash out on belts when you can just claut the little bastards with the bibles.

      • Anonymous says:

        The psycholgical damage of forcing religion on children is more cruel than hitting them.

  17. Coconutz says:

    This incident never ought to have happened, however kids from a very young age are allowed to get away with murder in the public school system – any wonder then that when they grow up they beat up on their peers, their teachers, and their parents? 

    • Anonymous says:

      "….kids from a very young age are allowed to get away with murder in the public school system."


      REALLY? I was under the impression they were getting away with murder at HOME.

      Children are not getting the sufficient parenting that is needed today. They are negleted at home, and sometimes they are neglected in school as well (rarely).

      It starts at home people.

    • Anonymous says:

      THis is nothing new on what is happening in the schools…it is just becoming public now….again politicians sticking their heads in the ground ignoring the problems……the schools in the cayman islands are horrible….uniforms for one….again no enforcement..idiot parents who allow their boys to wear pants 3 sizes to big and the schools allowing them in class looking like a bunch of thugs.  Now they are beating up the teachers…sooner or later we will shootings in our schools as sad as that sounds…

    • Anonymous says:

      And they don't behave like this at home?

    • Anonymous says:

      While I don't always agree with the expat vs Caymanian rants…teachers are often expats and there is a general sentiment that they, along with all expats, are inferior and can be treated like animals. This sentiment is taught to the children by their elders words and actions. 


  18. Coconutz says:

    The Department of Education, much like the politicians of this country have little regard for you, the public – in fact, I would argue that they think that you are all idiots.  How else can you explain their bogus, automatic responses filled with enough buzzwords to kill the world's flea population  three times over?  Every time something happens the "stakeholders" will all be involved, "significant work" is underway, the "community" this and the "community" that, when in fact, the "stakeholders" are completely ignored, no "significant work" is underway, has never been underway, and will never be underway – all in the hope that the "community" will be appeased by the same shameless, robotic responses and will soon forget about this incident as some other crazy one replaces it (i.e. present Minister of Education takes an all-expense trip to the moon; past one gets nailed for drinking and driving once again, or once again develops severe amnesia when it comes to other women)…  Seriously folks, you can't make this stuff up!!!  Stay tuned for a similar response/statement from the Ministry of Education.


    • Anonymous says:


      You said it so right.

      The politicians have no care or regards for the people. As far as they are concern we all can go to hell. All they care about is that we give  them our X.

      It baffles me, how can these big hard- back men, can sit on their ass and let this little country go to the dogs.

      They dont have a clue how to rule a country, why dowe keep putting them back in?

      Is there another way we can run our country, besides these loathsome so-called politicians?

      I will vote one man one vote next election. I would advise all to do the same. Lets stop the coat tail syndrome.

      Most of those voted down this motion only did so because they belongs to the party, and dont like Ezzard.


    • MEM says:

      The department can only do so much with children who are raising themselves (or being raised by technology and negative music)

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the best comments I have ever read on CNN, complety true on all fronts

  19. Anonymous says:

    I hope we are not saying the disruptive and violent behaviour is new. I was a teacher in the 80s/90s when this went on but the Ministry/Education Dept tried to suppress it, even making life very uncomfortable for a respected Principal who brought it to the attention of a PTA meeting.and was dumped on by the people he reported to. It was a "minor problem caused by foreign teachers not understanding the culture of our children". I suppose that is still the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, the ministry of education has always hidden the truth and sugar-coat things to make them seem better than what they are, while collecting a FAT salary from the CIG for doing so.

      Our problem is more than one, we have many. The people who are supposed to represent us and support us hold us back and make things harder for us, while lying the entire time saying they are doing their job. CIG wastes more money on unnecessary travel and ridiculous projects instead of fixing our issues as a country.

      Our biggest issue RIGHT NOW in Cayman is Mt. Trashmore people. It is going to be the end of us soon if we do not act quick. IT IS KILLING US (as well as CUC) 🙂

  20. Anonymous says:

    Don't think that the students will be watching this as well, they will see through a policy that is only lip service and then the violence will continue.